Final Post following my second blog. It’s been a week since race day and it all happened so quickly on the day. The week leading up to the race was the longest of my life I think, but the day itself went by fast. My time was 1:04:39 for the 10 miles which I was really pleased about. That put me 23rd in a field of about 450 – 500 people. I never thought I’d ever see that kind of placing on a run! Nine minutes off of my previous personal best over 10 miles. So how did it all go?
The Big Day
I was planning to wake up at about 06:00am latest. I failed at the first hurdle, waking up at gone seven o’clock and rushing out of bed to start getting some food in me. A standard breakfast was on a cards. Cereal and two coffee’s, which became one coffee as I just didn’t have the time. A small handful of cashew nuts were taken as well because I’d been in the pattern of my fast runs of having a handful of nuts about an hour or so before the run. I stuck exactly to the rest of the plan really.
I got a ride with my good friends Colin and Mark, and we were admiring the beautiful sky and sunshine on the short drive down into Hayling Island. There was little wind too and it was a good feeling knowing that we were not going to be battling into any really strong head winds. When we arrived, we found parking quickly in a nearby main road. Quite suprising for us because we’re used to the busy runs like the Great South where roads are closed all over the place. This was really easy driving in and parking (for free!). We entered the community centre and went straight over to the registration desk. We were asked immediately whether we had entered or not and Colin and Mark hadn’t yet. They were directed to another table, with no queue at all and quickly entered into the run. I got my number immediately and access to some safety pins. The whole process was just so quick and smooth. Well done and thanks to the organisers for getting it just right and keeping it simple. The race has just the right amount of runners I think, and just didn’t feel busy at all.
I then met up with a fellow runner at work, Dave W. We chatted for a while and ran through a few tips and my game plan. Dave has run with me quite a bit at work and he himself ran a PB just a few weeks prior. He is a long time runner and had some good tips to keep me calm before the run. After that I met back up with Colin and Mark plus a few other runners that we know. A short while before we went outside, some more good friends arrived, who had cycled down to be our kind of ‘moral support crew’. They had their bikes and were ready to go and meet us at several points through the run. It was great seeing so many people I knew there.
It was then time head outside and to the start after some quick warm up laps.
I got to the start line, which was just through a small alley. I was surprised that I managed to get right to the very front line! I’d never started so close to the front at all. I did a few more laps up and down infront of the crowd and I was really focused. Bumped into some other old friends from my younger partying days in Portsmouth, who were also now into their running and fitness. Then, the gun went.
The first bit was quite a blur, as the first mile passed quickly. I believe I was about 06:04 for the first mile. Too quick! I saw our support crew on bikes a few times during that first mile and they were cheering on asking about the pace etc. One of the support crew was a good friend Enwezor who ran a really quick 59 minutes last year in the same race. He knows all about pain during the runs and I think he was enjoying knowing what I was about to put myself through. They were great support though. Hugely inspiring.
The next few miles were strong. I kept looking at my watch and was clocking in at 06:24 ish per quarter mile. I have my watch set to beep in at quarter miles because it helps me touch base with my pace more accurately through a mile, rather than having to wait an entire mile to know that I’ve sped up too much or slowed down. It also motivates me when I know I’ve clocked in a faster quarter mile as I feel like I’ve got time ‘in the bank’ to use up later on. It’s all a mental game really, but helps!
The race was pretty quiet. I didn’t have people around me, but I knew I was in about 18th position by mile 6 and that’s when things got warm and felt pretty good, but I was slightly starting to tire too. At about mile 7 I saw my family and friends which was such a great feeling. I just wanted to run over the road and hug them all and stop by then, but it was a quick wave and something which resembled a smile, but they reckon looked more like a ‘fart face’ I reckon. They said I looked in pain. At mile 8 a guy ran up to me and got me confused with someone he’d met at Park Run in Southsea a week back. To be honest I was so focused on getting through to the end at that point that I wasn’t much use for talking too much. I mumbled something to him which I hope made sense and after that he ran off ahead a bit. The final two miles were a real mental battle. Having picked up a cold that Monday, which I was still fighting, I could feel the energy being drawn down to the limits. Mile 9 I had to dodge a car which pulled out of a side road in front of me which was a bit of effort. I must have looked a bit drunk. I was clocking in some 06:40’s by then, and the occasional 06:28 too, but I knew I was on target for a safe 64:xx ish minutes by then. It hurt a lot.
Going over the line was such a relief. I didn’t even manage to finish through the passage they had constructed afer the finish line. I felt nausea and pain rushing over me and my body ached quite a bit. It did soon wear off but not before Enwezor got a picture of what can only be described as not my finest moment. Colin came in next in a very respectable time and soon after came Mark, who managed to grab a very impressive PB knocking 6 minutes off his previous best! A great day all round. A know a few more friends I met up with ran personal best times too. Well done to them all.
So what did I get out of it all ?
1. A good level of fitness.
2. Confidence and sense of achievement! I can do it on race day (used to suffer from race day nerves).
3. Better eating habbits. Less crap that I don’t need.
4. Good training routine, and plenty of training experience.
5. Lots of discipline.
What next then? — back to the pipes I reckon, and keeping the fitness up if I can!
What I got out of it all ?